Digital technology is changing too fast. I can’t keep up with it. The only solution is to be young and learn from your cool, digitally savvy peers, who pick it up almost by osmosis. Right. Sign me up to become young again.

I first encountered the idea of disorienting technological change with Alvin Toffler’s 1970 “Future Shock.” I used to think he exaggerated, but now I think he was right. Things can change too fast. Lenin, stunned by the speed of his own revolution, exclaimed in 1917, “Es schwindelt,” which can be translated as either “swindle” or “makes one dizzy.”

I’m often schwindelt in both senses. Everyone assumes you use a smartphone and apps. I can’t; no one ever taught me. My accounts urge me to go paperless, but security is so tight that I can’t access my own accounts.

Digital phone service lets crooked robocalls bombard you — which Congress makes no attempt to curb — but you can’t reach a human at customer service. Humans are too expensive, so they provide a long series of numerical options that often lead nowhere. Frustrating experiment: Try phoning the phone company.

Digital technology overturns our lives, a trend the Lost Year accelerated. Everyone now Zooms and shops online. Without a teenage passerby’s smartphone video, Chauvin would likely not have been convicted. Working at home saves firms expensive office space; Manhattan leases are sharply discounted. Digital investments like Bitcoins and NFTs (don’t ask) soar (and plunge).

Non-college working and middle-class incomes fall behind, turning the U.S. from one of the most equal into one of the most unequal advanced countries, a two-class society with negative implications for democracy. Digital media, abetted by foreign hackers, ruins democratic consensus and weakens us.

My latest technology frustration concerned an Amazon Fire that streams from the internet into your TV, offering dozens of programs, many of them foreign with English subtitles. One series is in Scots Gaelic. Fleeing broadcast-network junk, we now follow European series (heavily “nordic noir”). German crime dramas (“Krimis”) have revived my German.

A month ago, though, this little Fire box stopped streaming. Customer service twice advised me to unplug most connections and plug them back in. And enter a long series of numbers. Nothing worked. They don’t know what to do either. I finally solved the problem by buying a new Amazon Fire Stick for $40. Works great.

A lifelong film photographer who did my own darkroom work, I scorned digital cameras as auto-everything kid stuff. But in 2005 on my first visit to China I was embarrassed that Chinese carried digital cameras while I still shot with film. I converted to digital photography and got several digital cameras, now 11 to 16 years old, cheaply on eBay. Old can still be good.

Digital engineers, however, love adding complexity. A 7-megapixel camera is ample; 20 MP can actually degrade the image. I’ve gotten great 8x10s from a 3.2-MP Canon with a sensor the size of a pea. I reckon that, per square centimeter, digital sensors are about 30 times sharper than film. Camera photography itself is threatened, replaced by amazing smartphones.

Kodak, which developed many basic digital patents, rose and fell with the film that George Eastman pioneered. The late, legendary Kodachrome, 1935–2009, roughly brackets my life and may suggest my longevity. I still have trouble, though, getting my digital shots into and out of my computer.

Digital is the new oil; it shapes and shakes the world economy. American designers email their specifications, renderings and 3-D printer instructions to China and India to show foundries exactly what is required. Unfortunately, such contacts do not stitch the world together; nations demand control of their cyberspace, ready to exclude outsiders.

Smartphones draw users into compulsive chatting and texting, even while driving. Online schooling has largely flopped. Most students need an in-person instructor. Students, deprived of social contact, become depressed. College enrollments fall off.

Digital has upended print media. Everything from books to periodicals had to quickly develop new business models or risk closing. With digital, you don’t have to print, store or distribute books and journals. Revenues from my college textbooks have plunged. Professional newsrooms are shrinking as news dissolves into partisan misinformation. Truth and facts melt.

Looking back, the modest technology of the late 1940s and early 1950s sustained a pretty good life. Families gathered around the radio. TV was primitive but had great live shows. Households had one car and one telephone. More food was fresh. Unions were strong and gave working people solidarity and hope, now gone.

One learns to be a bit wary of “progress.” It does not necessarily improve net happiness or heal national wounds. Digital is as transformative as steam power and electricity were, but they took decades to develop; digital conquers with bewildering speed. Alas, we can’t control it or opt out.